Up close experience
Stables are located around one side of the fairgrounds where the competing horses are housed.
It was fun to be able to walk among the stables to get a close up view of the large horses.
Not far from a stable would be the horse-drawn vehicle that would be pulled by the occupant
of the stable. The owners of the horses proudly displayed the many awards won by their beautiful
horses at many draft horse events around the country.
We see a horse and buggy in the stable area
Often seen around the horse stalls was an owner working to make their horse presentable
by brushing, polishing hooves as well as braiding tails and manes. There even was a horse-wash
where a handler would walk a horse into a position where sprayers would wet the horse down.
Then the handler used soapy brushes and sponges to scrub the horse. This was a process that
took place after a horse had performed in hot weather causing the horse to get lathered up and
sweating from the exertion. This was a good way to cool the hot horse down quickly while getting
it ready for the next event.
The harnesses that are put on the performing horses are often very ornate with lots of very
shiny, polished leather and metal. Many of the harnesses are made by Amish craftsmen costing
tens of thousands of dollars. It is clear that entering horses in the DHC was very costly for
Horses taking it easy between performances
Scattered around the stable area was a very diverse collection of horse-drawn vehicles.
One of my favorites is the Conestoga covered-wagon, an RV for the era. Many of the equestrian
vehicles, in their day, were used to perform tasks that would later be taken on by motor-powered
trucks and cars. To this day, truck drivers are called teamsters.